Service-Learning Spotlight: Rachel Funken

While just a freshman, Social Work student Rachel Funken decided to take on the challenge of service-learning this semester (Spring 2016) to gain more experience in her field of study before pursuing a full internship. She chose to work at Greene County Children’s Division (CD) because it fit her interest of advocating for child welfare and helping families directly. She recently shared more information about her service-learning experience.

1) How has your experience been at CD?
It has been amazing!  I’ve learned and gained so much information that I would never be able to get in a classroom setting.

Rachel at the CD office in downtown Springfield.
Rachel at the CD office in downtown Springfield.

2) What kinds of things do you do at CD?
When I’m at CD, I work alongside one or two of the workers in the department while they’re either working on a case, meeting with clients and/or their lawyers, or going out into the field to check up on children after a hotline call comes in.

3) What do you enjoy most about working with this organization?
What I enjoy most about working with CD is that it’s exactly what I want to be doing when I’m out of college.  It also gives me a head start on becoming knowledgeable about the organization in case I’m interested in applying for the PREP Program in my senior year for my practicum.

4) Why do you think the work your organization is doing/issue it is addressing is important?
I think the work that CD is doing is important because it gives children a voice.  Children who are abused or neglected need someone to rescue and take care of them when their parents or guardians aren’t doing so. This is what CD sets out to do, and I think they do a wonderful job at achieving this goal.

5) How has being involved in service-learning and this particular organization helped you understand your coursework better?
It has helped me better understand my coursework because I’m able to learn something in the classroom and then go to CD and apply it to the real world.

6) What advice do you have for students who are interested to do service-learning?
My advice would be to absolutely try to do it! It gives you so much experience you wouldn’t be able to get before you actually begin you career. It also gives you a better idea if your major is right or not for you.

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